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Meranda Adams

Meranda Adams (née Watling) is a senior online editor for a magazine by day and journalism blogger (or more prolific twitterer) by night. She's loved writing and design since childhood, and developed an early interest in technology when she started teaching herself HTML at age 10. She's a graduate of Kent State University‘s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is about a half hour from her hometown of Akron, Ohio. Currently, she lives near Indianapolis with her husband and their dog, Dickens. Contact Meranda at meranda at merandawrites dot com or on Twitter @meranduh.

Tips: NYT Social Media Staff On What Worked (And Didn’t) In 2013

Ever wish your website could garner the kind of social media engagement the New York Times enjoys? Well, honestly, without as many followers as @nytimes (more than 10 1/2 million as of today) and as many boots on the ground — and fingers on the keyboard typing up tweets and stories to tweet about — you probably can’t. atnytimes_010814 BUT you can at least enjoy the fruits of their expertise and adapt their tips to your strategy.

Bite into this post over at the Nieman Journalism Lab where several NYT social media staffers chew on what they learned works in social media, based on last year’s top performers: If a tweet worked once, send it again — and other lessons from The New York Times’ social media desk

There’s some seriously great advice in this piece, beyond the tip in headline they discuss: Read more

Improve Your Data Journalism Skills, For Free

In today’s journalism environment, data is abundant, but journalists skilled at collecting, interpreting and maximizing it are not as plentiful. These are real skills that can improve your reporting today and improve your job prospects in the future.

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to do your journalism job better (which probably should just be a standing resolution anyway), here’s a great free way reporters, editors and designers can improve their data journalism skills.

From European Journalism Centre, the people who brought us the Data Journalism Handbook, comes this five-week online course starting early in 2014: Doing Journalism With Data: First Steps and Skills

Among the topics to be covered by some industry experts: Read more

Was 2013 the Year Anonymity Died on the Internet?

Even without all the revelations of digital government spying coming out of leaked documents from Edward Snowden, 2013 will likely go down in the books as a tipping point away from the old online adage: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

This week, after hinting at it earlier this year, the online behemoth Huffington Post turned off anonymous user comments. Now, unless you apply for a special exception, your comments will be tied to your Facebook identity. (There’s a whole other discussion about Facebook names not being verified, but the idea is most people won’t go through the trouble of creating a whole new fake account, and it will at least make you stop and think for a minute — unless of course your username and avatars on the Internet are actually your dog because some people are into that.)

Aside from Huffington Post, other major players took a step away from online trolls this year. YouTube, home of perhaps one of the most notorious spam and vitriol-filled comment sections, moved toward an identity-based (aka: Google+) user-relevant comment section in November. Popular Science dropped comments altogether in September!

Many other news publishers jumped on the no-anonymous-commenting train that had started to gain steam in recent years this year. Already some big publishers, like Gannett, made the switch away from free-for-all comment section to those tied to social media accounts, which in theory are less anonymous. But this year even smaller communities, such as Gwinnett, Ga., and other bigger papers, such as the Sacramento Bee, made the switch.

That’s not to say there isn’t a case to be made for anonymity, but as anyone who has published anything on the Internet or had anything about them published on the Internet can attest, sometimes people are are just mean for the sake of being mean. Even with their names attached, people are still inexplicably cruel sometimes, but at least they do it publicly. In general, on news sites where comments are now tied to identities, it does seem to have elevated, if only somewhat, the level of discourse. That’s important because those comments can actually influence how people feel about the stories they read.

To be sure, other publishers have tried various methods to tame trolling comments without dropping them altogether or outing commenters’ identities. UC Berkeley has a good summary of some of the ideas and milestones in news site comment section adaptation.

What do you think? Have we reached the tipping point at which some day our kids or kids’ kids will look back on early online comments sections with awe in the same way we now marvel that the Internet used to move at 14kbps and basic computers once took up a whole room?

Tell us in the comments below, where yeah, for now, you don’t have to actually use your real name — but you probably shouldn’t be a jerk anyway.

How to Achieve These 3 New Year’s Resolutions For Journalists

Thinking ahead a month might seem like an eternity for many journalists in the thick of holiday stories and planning for vacations. But before you hang up your hat on 2013, you should make a plan for how you’ll do better in 2014.

journalismresolutionsWant to be a better journalist? Here are three professional New Year’s resolutions you can make — and keep — for next year, and how to do it.

1. Learn something new

Yeah yeah, this is sort of what journalists do every day for their research. But when was the last time you sat down and took a class, attended a professional conference or just read a book related to your craft? In a world that’s constantly demanding new skills, you’ll soon be irrelevant if you don’t keep up on the trade. Here’s a few ideas on how to do it: Read more

What If JFK Was Assassinated Today? How The News Would Cover It

The assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy was a pivotal moment for the nation — and the nation’s news teams. And in nearly every area of life, a lot has changed since the charismatic leader died 50 years ago today. One of the most pronounced shifts is in the news gathering and reporting process.

In honor of this pivotal historical moment, several news organizations have taken the chance to, in a sense, rewrite history by covering the event again in real time using modern reporting tools.

So what if JFK had died today? Here’s how some news organizations would cover it:

cbs jfk coverage
Read more